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EXCLUSIVE: Rackets – The Inflation Machine?! JJJameson

A few days before last Christmas, the Gymnasium feature was removed and a new feature was introduced on Bootleggers; Rackets. For the new ones, rackets are a form of crimes that are started and profits can be collected later after the operation is complete. Multiple rackets can be running simultaneously and profits can be collected in any state, they do not have to be collected in the state they were started in. Different rackets have different times for completion and the more time you need to wait for completion, the more money you earn. At this moment there are four different rackets:
1. Policy Game. Gives you approximately $3,500 and takes 15 minutes to complete;
2. Protection Racket. Gives you approximately $10,000 and takes 45 minutes to complete;
3. Prostitution Ring. Gives you approximately $35,000 and takes 2 hours to complete; and
4. Loan Shark Operation. Gives you approximately $90,000 and takes 4 hours to complete.

The pay-out differs per attempt and after a certain number of successful attempts, the total pay-out quadruples (for an one-off attempt). Furthermore, taking too long to collect the profits can result in the profits being lost. So, enough information of the basics, time to get some facts straight. The past few weeks we at the Buzz noticed several discussion on the Game Forum about this relatively new feature. People claim that the in-game money is significantly increasing due the racket feature and the total money goes up too fast. A too rapid increase of the total in-game money eventually results in the well-known Bootleggers term ‘‘Inflation’’.

But what is inflation? In economics, inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time (Wikipedia got that covered for me). That is the definition in economics though, but what does inflation mean on a game like Bootleggers? I believe inflation on Bootleggers means that the game becomes unplayable once you have not enough money to purchase the ‘goods and services’ in the Bootleggers economy. Those goods and services are for example: bullets sold at bullet factories, cars for sale at the store and the average price of gold at the Marketplace. History has taught us that all these goods and services increase in value during the round. Is that really a problem though?

Remember the start of this round? You could buy 100 bullets for a total amount of $1,000 and purchase Gold for approximately $4,000 per gold coin. Now, have a look at the current average prices of bullets and Gold. A significant increase compared the start of the round, simply due the fact that there is more in-game money than compared at the start of this round. Now please empathize yourself into a player who has just signed up and starts with $500. You could argue that this player has no chance against the players who are playing from the start of the round. The players from the beginning of the round may have an advantage over this new player, because they have been able to earn money for some time. Due to the high prices of goods and services in the game (at the time the new players joins Bootleggers), this new player seems to have no chance against the other players and therefore ‘‘Inflation’’ can be a problem. But let's all be honest, this problem is solved quickly when this player buys gold with real money. You don’t have to explain to me that this is not a real solution. I am Dutch, so I am anything but stingy.

So yeah, back to the racket feature. Where was I? People claim that the in-game money is significantly increasing due the racket feature and the total money goes up too fast. In summary, due the high average pay-out of the rackets, people claim that the inflation is going way faster than before. We do what you expect from a quality newspaper and we went to find it out. So, where to start? In order to determine whether a feature brings too much money into the game, we first have to gain insight into the features with which you can earn money. In order to make things not too complicated, we have only analyzed a limited number of features on Bootleggers, but I believe that these are currently the features that make the most money. We had a look at the following features and information:
  • Total amount of performed and successful crimes (including the total amount of cash earned with these crimes);
  • Total amount of performed and successful Auto Burglary attempts (including the total amount of cash earned with selling cars to the state);
  • Total amount of sold booze with the Bootlegging feature (including the total amount of cash earned with selling Booze);
  • Total amount of performed and successful Booze Smuggles (including the total amount of cash earned with these Booze Smuggles);
  • Total amount of performed and successful Organized Crimes (including the total amount of cash earned with these Organized Crimes); and
  • Total amount of performed and successful Rackets (including the total amount of cash earned with these Rackets).

Based on the information above, we can make clear what the average earnings are per feature and we can determine whether the Racket feature is actually a significant part of the total incoming money within Bootleggers. With the help of FlameS and KyleKroff we gained insight into this interesting data. The information below is based on the start of the current round until last Thursday (14th February 2019). Hold tight, figures incoming!

Crimes:
Total amount of successful crimes: 2,925,371
Total amount of cash earned with crimes: $2,766,175,957
Total average cash per successful crime: $946 (Calculated)

Bootlegging:
Total amount of sold booze: 16,013,352
Total amount of cash earned with sold Booze: Unavailable

Booze Smuggles:
Total amount of successful booze smuggles: 9,921 successful members (not teams)
Total amount of cash earned with booze smuggles: $3,215,034,229

Organized Crimes:
Total amount of successful Organized Crimes: 17,313 successful teams & 69,783 successful members
Total amount of cash earned with Organized Crimes: $4,489,842,094

Unfortunately the information we needed for the Auto Burglary was unavailable. Given the average value of cars (with 0% damage) and the costs associated with transporting and changing the license plates, I expect that the total amount of cash earned with selling cars to the state is equal to the total amount of cash earned with crimes (this is my personal estimate and not based on any underlying data). For the Racket feature we also asked for a segmentation into the several different rackets and also some insight regarding the attempts rate of the rackets.

Total amount of failed rackets:
5,908 Policy Game (0,70% fail rate – calculated)
5,027 Protection Racket (1,2% fail rate – calculated)
3,828 Prostitution Ring (2% fail rate – calculated)
1,963 Loan Shark Operation (2,1% fail rate – calculated)

Total amount of successful rackets:
836,300 Policy Game
397,294 Protection Racket
191,854 Prostitution Ring
93,411 Loan Shark Operation

Total amount of cash earned by rackets:
$3,258,280,340 Policy Game
$4,427,423,759 Protection Racket
$7,044,929,552 Prostitution Ring
$9,368,301,767 Loan Shark Operation
$24,098,935,418 Total (Calculated)

Based on the above information, the conclusion is clear; the racket feature creates by far the most money in the game. It is remarkable to see that the fail rate is very low. In my opinion it would be a good addition to shorten the range in which you must collect the profit after completing the racket. For some players (including myself) this may not be a fine adjustment, but I am curious to what extent this affects the total incoming money from this feature. On the basis of these figures, something must certainly be done to prevent rising inflation. In my opinion, inflation is unavoidable, but in this way it is going very quickly. Hopefully the figures above will help in the discussion and perhaps adjustments will follow. I want to thank FlameS and KyleKroff again for the information and I hope you all enjoyed the read.